Governments and academics from the three countries are teaming up, putting aside troubled histories to avert a common disaster.

The issue: Asia’s well of available IP (Internet Protocol) addresses is running dry rapidly. Without an IP address–a 32-bit string of numbers–a 3G phone, PC or handheld has no identity and cannot send or receive data.

With IPv4, China has only 22 million IP addresses for its population of 1.3 billion people. Last year, it had about 17 million Internet subscribers, and the figure will hit 62.5 million in 2007. Japan and Korea will also run out of addresses soon, she said.

What’s worse, this doesn’t include the coming wave of 3G phones and smart, data-enabled home devices, which will all need an address.
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